Top Singles Seeds Go Through To Finals
by Mike Grossman (from a report filed by J.Chang)

September 27, 1996 (New Shuttlenws) - The top-seeded men's doubles pair of Antonius and Denny Kantono from Indonesia were defeated by fellow-Indonesians Chandra Wijaya and Sigit in their semifinal match today at the badminton U.S. Open in the city of Orange in southern California.

Antonius and Kantono, the Atlanta Olympic bronze medalists, played an erratic match throughout.

In the first game, Wijaya and Sigit took an early 5-2 lead on several miscues by Antonius before the medal-winning pair managed to play more steadily. Antonius and Kantono caught up to Wijaya and Sigit and then passed them for good at 9 on a series of strong smashing rallies. Antonius scored the game-winner at 15-9 on a crosscourt block that got past Wijaya.

In the second game, Wijaya and Sigit managed to unleash their own potent attack with both players taking turns jumpsmashing from the rear of the court and finding the holes in the Antonius-Kantono defenses. Wijaya and Sigit won the second 15-10.

In the third game, Wijaya and Sigit raced off to a 7-0 lead on many Antonius-Kantono errors forced by a strong smash and drive attack mixed together with timely dropshots.

The Olympic medalists managed to score some points but the Wijaya- Sigit combination held on to their lead on many Antonius-Kantono errors.

At 13-6 in favor of Wijaya and Sigit, Antonius and Kantono staged a furious rally but Antonius hit a vicious smash that went out of bounds, handing Wijaya and Sigit a match point. In the next rally, Wijaya and Sigit again put the pressure on Antonius and Kantono and were rewarded with the victory at 15-6 when Antonius placed a shot into the net.

In the other men's doubles semifinal the second-seeded pair of Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock from Malaysia prevailed over the eight-seeded tandem of Ha Tae Kwon and Kim Dong Mun from Korea 15-6 9-15 15-12.

The opening game saw the Koreans start off well, scoring the first five points. The Malaysian pair then found their timing and began frustrating the Koreans with excellent smash defenses. Yap and Cheah kept flicking back smash after smash from the Koreans and when they managed to gain the attack, pounded the shuttle into the floor. Cheah and Yap won the first game 15-6.

In the second game, the Malaysians seemed slower off the mark and more erratic as Ha and Kim smashed their way to a 15-9 win.

In the third game, Cheah and Yap gained control early as they again frustrated the Korean attack with their excellent defending and ability to gain back the attack and score. Cheah and Yap seemed poised to win with the score at 11-3.

Ha and Kim fought back as the Malaysians again seemed to get slower off the mark with Yap blocking smashes wide or long or into the net. The Koreans managed to knot the game at 11-all.

With supporters from Malaysia cheering loudly and Korean fans countering with their own chant of KO-REE-AH, the two pairs battled for a place in the finals.

Cheah and Yap broke the deadlock with a series of smashes that ended when Kim blocked one out of bounds. The Malaysians then followed with another score to go up 13-11. After a series of scoreless rallies, the Koreans got one point back when Ha blocked a Malaysian smash into the very top of the net, sending the shuttle tumbling to the floor on the Malaysian side.

At 13-12, both sides again exchanged scoreless rallies before the Malaysians got to match point on an smash block error by Ha.

At match point, Cheah surprised Ha by serving a drive instead of the usual short service and caused Ha to mishit the shuttle.

The Cheah-Yap victory places them in the finals of the U.S. Open against the Indonesian pair of Chandra Wijaya and Sigit.

In the men's singles semifinals, top-seed Joko Suprianto of Indonesia and second-seed Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen both won their matches to set up an encounter in tomorrow's finals.

Suprianto defeated Fung Permadi of Chinese Taipei 15-6 and 15-8.

Permadi had surprised Suprianto in the early going with his deceptive front court shots and had gained a 5-0 advantage. Suprianto then adjusted his game by going to an attacking style with jumpsmashes and rushes to the net for killshots.

Suprianto caught up to Permadi and passed him to win the first 15-6.

In the second game, it was Suprianto who took an early lead at 7-0. Permadi tried to stage a comeback but could only manage to exchange points with Suprianto, despite many long rallies.

Suprianto won the second 15-8.

In his semifinal match, Hoyer-Larsen beat Rashid Sidek of Malaysia 15-13 and 15-3.

Hoyer-Larsen played his usual game with many net and drop shots that barely go over the net mixed up with change-of-tempo crosscourt smashes that often caught Sidek looking.

Sidek on the other hand tried to play a style similiar to Hoyer-Larsen.

In the first game, Hoyer-Larsen scored the first four points and then let Sidek creep back into the match as he made several errors. Sidek managed to close the gap at 9-10 on a net error by the Danish player.

Hoyer-Larsen then started to pull away at 12-9 by controlling the play at the net and then pushing the shuttle past Sidek.

Sidek came back at Hoyer-Larsen to again close the gap at 13-14 before the Dane closed out the game at 15-13 on a netshot winner.

His efforts during the first game apparently wore Sidek out. He seemed to have nothing left in the second game and Hoyer-Larsen had an easy win at 15-3.

In the women's singles semifinals, top-seed Mia Audina of Indonesia easily disposed of Denyse Julien of Canada 11-5 and 11-0 with her strong and accurate smashing as well as some tricky crosscourt net shots.

In the other women's singles semifinal, second-seed Camilla Martin of Denmark seemed on her way to victory against Meiluawati of Indonesia, having easily won the first game at 11-4.

Martin lost some of her concentration in the second after she had gained a 5-1 lead. Her errors and Meiluawati's determined play gave the Indonesian a hard-fought second game win at 12-10.

The third game was Martin's despite an early run by Meiluawati. It was Meiluawati's turn to make errors as Martin moved her around the four corners of the court. Martin won the third 11-3.

In the women's doubles, top-seeds Eliza and Rosiana Zelin of Indonesia defeated Kim Shin Young and Chung So Young of Korea 15-9 and 15-3 in one semifinal.

The Koreans were only in the match in the early going of the first game. The stronger Indonesian attack and erratic play by Kim were the causes of the Korean downfall.

In the other semifinal, Joanne Goode and Julie Bradbury of England beat Indarti Isoliana and Denyana Lomban of Indonesia 15-7 and 15-7.

The English pair were in control throughout the first game. In the second, the Indonesians got to an early lead but the experience of the English pulled them past the gritty pair of Isoliana and Lomban.

In the mixed doubles semifinals, Chris Hunt of England and Helene Kirkegaard of Denmark upset the second-seeds Simon Archer and Julie Bradbury of England in a three-gamer 15-7 12-15 15-12.

Kirkegaard was the difference in the match as she continually outplayed her counterpart across the net with her stronger smash and quickness at the net and at defense.

In the other mixed doubles semifinal, Kim Dong Mun and Chung So Young of Korea disposed of Nick Ponting and Joanne Goode of England 15-9 and 15-5.

Kim Dong Mun is one-half of the gold medal-winning mixed doubles pair at the Atlanta Olympics and Chung So Young is one-half of the gold medal-winning women's doubles pair at the Barcelona Olympics.

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